Robert Swift, of the TAMIM Global Equity High Conviction IMA, was recently invited to attend the ever-popular Berkshire Hathaway AGM. He has taken the time to write some notes on what he found interesting and what he observed.
Berkshire Hathaway AGM - notes from the ground
It’s one of the most sought after AGMs to attend globally and it typically happens in May in Omaha, Nebraska. It is, of course, the Berkshire Hathaway AGM hosted by Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger. It is an investment and media frenzy with unbridled adulation for the duo even from wealthy investment industry veterans. To give you some idea of the frenzy, the presentation kicks off at 9am; the doors to the auditorium open at 7am, and the queue for good seats started up at 5am outside! I went with a friend who is a (happy) shareholder and he was kind enough to drop me off at 5.45am to save his place in the line. In years gone by he had his place saved by younger analysts who would sleep out overnight to ensure he got in right at the front. I was a severe disappointment to him with my lack of commitment!
I attended this year for the first time. I am glad I went and I found the whole exercise fascinating from an investment and sociological perspective.
It was actually great fun, and informative, to chat to folks queuing patiently early in the morning. There were people from all over the world, and people with plenty to say about the state of capital markets, and provide their opinions on politicians and central banks.
I also spent the previous afternoon strolling around the exhibition hall in which Berkshire showcase, and sell, as many of their products as they can. They have turned the company AGM into another profit centre. Smart to get investors to pay for your own AGM!
Rather than analyse Berkshire Hathaway which plenty of folks do, (it is one of the largest USA companies by market capitalisation) I thought it might be more interesting to make observations from the Friday and Saturday: the shopping in the exhibition hall, and the queuing, and then the Q&A at the AGM with Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger answering a very wide range of questions and dealing with some protests too.
We hope this article is different and interesting. We are not going to try and copy Berkshire’s investing structure but interestingly have some listed companies in common.
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